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In LightWave 10 Essential Training, author Dan Ablan provides thorough, step-by-step instructions on building 3D models, scenes, and animations in LightWave 10. Beginning with a tour of the interface and LightWave's two main programs, Modeler and Layout, the course covers key concepts such as building models from basic polygonal shapes, assigning textures, and employing lights and 3D cameras to build real world scenes. Also included are tutorials explaining particle animation, dynamics, and bones. Exercise files accompany the course.
Once you setup a bone structure on object, you can move it around and you can bend it and see that it works, but every once while you might feel the need to move the placement of the bones. You might need to fine-tune them a bit. So in order to do that, you don't want to do them while they're active. You don't want to adjust them, because what will happen of course, if I move this bone, well it's going to move the object so I need to deactivate it. So if I press the P key for any selected bone, I'll get the Bone panel and I can simply say Bone Active uncheck. I can use my up arrow to cycle through the other bones, and I can do the same thing and just deactivate these.
So now, if I move one of these, you can see that it doesn't affect the bottle at all because it's deactivated. And with that done, I can close that panel and perhaps I wanted to come down at my front view. I'll press 1 on the keyboard. Maybe I want to add another set of bones at the bottom so I can give it a little bit of a twist during my animation. So I'll press 2 on the keyboard to get to the top view. Come to the Setup tab and I'm going to add a bone and that's going to put one right down the Z-axis. I'll press the P key to get back to my bone properties and I can increase the Rest Length just until it hits the edge of that bottom.
From there I'm going to add a child bone, but then I'm actually going to move that bone back and then press the Y key for Rotate. We're going to rotate it about 90 degrees off to this side here, and then we're going to make a child bone from that one and it will do the same thing. Press the T key. We're going to move that back. Press the Y command and we're going to rotate that around. And if you're off just a little bit, just to press the T key again for Move. We'll make one more child bone. And then we'll move that one back into the center and then we'll press Y for Rotate and I'll move this and then T key to move it back just a little bit.
Let's take a look at it from the Perspective view by pressing 4. So they're in the middle of the bottle. I actually want them at the bottom. So I'm going to select the initial bone there. Now I'll press the T key for Move. Because the other bones are child bones of that, they will follow. That's okay if your bone sticks outside of your bottle. Just remember that those don't render. So if you go to your preview render in the VPR, you'll see that they don't actually show up there. They're just references and they're influencing your bottle. Well, the advantage of doing something like this is that I can then go ahead and when I activate these, I'll press the R key as kind of a shortcut to activate all the bones, as you see them get solid obce I do.
See how it affects the bottom of the bottle? So now what I can do is take this bone right here and twist the bottom of the bottle. And let me go here to a Shaded view so you could see it. So now I've got a little more control over the bottom of the bottle that's independent from the top part of the bottle. So he can jump around as needed. He can bend. You can set these keyframes. So using the keyframe lessons of course, we can move through our Timeline and make this little bottle come to life and jump around the screen. So very nice way to work.
I'm just going to Command+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo a couple of times. So that bone structure works very well for pretty much any kind of simplistic object like this, but it's often all you need to bring a full character to life. A few other things you know about the bones. Press the D key and if you've got a lot of preferences inhere that you're going to work through. Under Handles & Icons in the Display tab, you'll actually see that there is a Bone Icon Size. I'll move that over. And if I increase this you can see that these bones can be much more visible in your object.
You can Draw Bones Filled and that's usually on by default. You can Auto-size Bones, and you can Draw Joints, depending on inverse kinematics and more complex setups. So something to keep in mind, you can also set a light icon, just so you know, a camera icon, and your handles for when you move objects. So as you're building more complex characters, even simple ones like this, keep in mind these display settings that help you fine-tune your bones.
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